Haven Magazine - - Life - Words: An­thony Sher­ratt

Read­ing is the gift that gives and if you’re a par­ent, what it gives is a blessed si­lence. I was in­ter­ested to read a re­cent study that said de­spite a gen­eral de­cline in read­ing, girls to­day aged 6-13 years were ac­tu­ally more in­ter­ested in pick­ing up a book. As a bib­lio­phile, I think this is great. As a dad of twin girls aged six, I think this is awe­some. You see I love books. A lot. And I’ve al­ways wor­ried a bit about forc­ing my loves onto the girls. Af­ter all, they’re al­ready just as likely to dress up as a su­per­hero as they are a princess - which of course makes me won­der how of­ten we in­flu­ence our kids sub­con­sciously? I’ve been care­ful to not force read­ing on my girls as I didn’t want them to shy away au­to­mat­i­cally from some­thing that has given me count­less hours of joy in my life. I don’t want it be a chore: I want it be a love. As some­one who used to de­vour books of all gen­res (pre-kids, when I had the time), my pas­sion for sto­ries has been with me for as long as I can re­mem­ber. It’s only nat­u­ral that I want my girls to ex­pe­ri­ence the same ex­ul­ta­tion when Aragorn is crowned king and sur­prise when it’s Neville Long­bot­tom who de­stroys the last hor­crux. And yes, also the heavy sob­bing when Char­lotte the spi­der dies. Be­cause good books are about life: whether it be hopes and dreams or shared emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ences. Good and bad. We lose our­selves in books but we find our­selves there as well. The study also found that girls are more likely to read than boys. This is sur­pris­ing only to those who haven’t spent time around teenage boys. Teenage boys are too dis­tracted by sports, hor­mones and girls to worry about books. They seem in­ca­pable of read­ing a sit­u­a­tion let alone a hard­cover. And while my girls will have to face those same boys (at an age of life I don’t wish to think about too much), I know they’ll go in armed with knowl­edge. With imag­i­na­tion. With a love of life fu­elled by words. With the ex­pe­ri­ences of a thou­sand au­thors to guide them. Be­cause at the end of the day we be­come the books we read.

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